Betsy was out for the night -- this was a while ago -- and I was having dinner by myself. This meant... shells! (I have some weak evidence for Betsy not liking shells.) This meant... red sauce! (We had some left and I was happy not to share. It is really good.) This meant... ricotta cheese! (Not actually my favorite, but I couldn't think of any other way to stuff shells.)
I set the shells to boil, and when they were almost ready, got the ricotta cheese from the fridge.
"There was a huge thing of mold in the ricotta cheese!" I told my brother later. "It was the size of... well, my pinky fingernail."
He laughed. Well, okay, that was dumb, so I laughed, too.
"But if it's in your food, any mold is huge," he said.
I threw the ricotta in the trash. What else to stuff in the shells, already irredeemably boiled?
NB: Tossing the ricotta cheese in the trash turned out to be a poor decision. I didn't notice the smell emanating from the cupboard until the next morning when I was scrambling to get ready for work. I should have scooped the cheese into the sink or taken the whole thing to the dumpster outside.
First, the Swiss chard. That was going in anyway.
Um, onions? I chopped up some onion and threw it in the bowl.
Parmesan cheese, too. I put the lid on the bowl and shook it up. The parmesan dusted the leaves nicely, like frost that's sort of clumpy-roundish and comes from a green cylinder. So, yeah, maybe not really like frost.
The shells came out and looked floppy, pathetic, and sad. It was going to be a floppy, pathetic, and sad dinner.
Wait! Olive oil! So I drizzled olive oil into all the shells, and things improved significantly. Then I added some generous shakes of basil flakes (make that into a Dr. Seuss poem, someone) and the red sauce. It wasn't going to be fantastic, but I could eat dinner with red sauce.
It was pretty much amazing. I was surprised. I'd make these over the ricotta ones any day.